October 20, 2021
Even in the 21st century the 12-gauge shotgun is still considered by many to be the ultimate home-defense firearm. It is a brute force weapon, throwing clouds of attitude-adjusting projectiles downrange—simple, but very effective.
Because shotguns are simple, they are also relatively inexpensive when compared to other types of firearms. Especially pump shotguns, which are perhaps the best balance between cost and performance. Let’s take a look at five great home defense pump shotguns with retail prices under $300, which means you’ll see them on sale for even less than that. All of these shotguns accept 2 ¾” and 3-inch shells.
1. Mossberg Maverick 88 Security
The Maverick is the economy line from Mossberg, introduced in 1988, and produced in Maverick County, Texas. Mossberg’s other pump shotguns (the 500 and 590 series) are already very affordably priced, but the Maverick line drops that price tag even further. The Maverick 88 Security has a cylinder bore barrel, is offered with either an 18.5- or 20inch barrel with a bead sight, a 5+1 or 7+1 capacity, or a blued or Flat Dark Earth (FDE) finish. When compared to the Mossberg 500, the Mavericks have crossbolt instead of receiver-mounted safeties and more limited options when it comes to calibers and chokes, but are compatible with Mossberg 500 accessories (stocks, barrels, etc.). MSRP on the 5+1 capacity models is just $245, and the 7+1 versions are $259. Mossberg.com
2. Stoeger P3000 Defense
Stoeger is a name well-known to many people. They have produced pistols in cooperation with Beretta in the past, and offer a comprehensive array of shotguns, everything from over/unders to semi-autos. The P3000 Defense is a pump-action 12-gauge with an 18-5-inch barrel. It has a black synthetic stock and forend and a blade front sight, which is a bit unusual in this price range. The standard model has a standard stock, 5+1 capacity, and an MSRP of just $289. For just a few dollars more the Freedom Series version of this gun has an extended 7+1 capacity magazine, and an MSRP of $339. StoegerIndustries.com
3. Savage/Stevens Security 320
Much like Maverick is Mossberg’s economy brand, Stevens is Savage’s economy brand. Their Security 320 has a suggested retail price of just $269, and for that low price you get a shotgun with a distinctive stock and forend that helps it stand out from the crowd. The Security 320 has an 18.5-inch barrel with a bead sight, dual slide bars, crossbolt safety, and a 5+1 capacity. But wait, there’s more! You can get the Security 320 with a pistol-grip stock for the same price, or for $30 more (still under our $300 threshold) you can get a version with ghost ring sights. These are made by Sun City Machinery in China for Savage/Stevens. SavageArms.com
4. EAA Churchill
European American Armory has been very successful importing proven firearm designs into the U.S., everything from Italian-made CZ 75 clones to Turkish shotguns. The EAA Churchill 612 is a 12-gauge pumps shotgun made for them by AKKAR in Turkey. This shotgun has an 18.5-inch barrel, blued finish, and a black polymer stock and forend. It has a 5+1 capacity. There are several versions of this shotgun, including a pistol grip model and a kit that includes a vent-rib 26-inch barrel, but the basic model has an MSRP of just $233. EAACorp.com
5. Rock Island Armory is the American face of Armscor
The largest firearms manufacturer in the Philippines (and one of the largest in the world), and I’m going to actually cover two of their shotguns. Their Meriva Standard Pump gives you everything you need in a pump-action 12-gauge, for an amazing low price. The Meriva sports an 18.5-inch barrel with a ramp front sight, a 5+1 capacity, and a triangular crossbolt safety. The MSRP of the Meriva is $249. The next step up from the Meriva is RIA’s All Generations shotgun. It too has a 5+1 capacity and an 18.5-inch barrel, but the barrel has a vent rib, and the stock and forend are upgraded to a new design vaguely reminiscent of the Magpul shotgun products. The stock has a cheekpad adjustable for height. MSRP on the All Gen is $299. Armscor.com
A quick note—the websites listed above are where you can go to get all the specs and info on these products, but none of the retailers sell direct to consumer. However, a quick search online will show you that these guns are available from most distributors, including Davidson’s Gallery of Guns.
If you have any thoughts or comments on this article, we’d love to hear them. Email us at FirearmsNews@Outdoorsg.com.
About the Author:
James Tarr is a former police officer and private investigator, and is a nationally ranked competitive shooter. He has been writing professionally for 20 years, both magazine articles and books.